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Hall of Fame Showcase Tips Off 2009-2010 College Basketball Season With Nationally Televised Doubleheader

Arkansas, Kansas, Louisville and Memphis battle in St. Louis on Nov. 17


LOUISVILLE, KY, August 1, 2009 – Four of the nation’s premier programs will tip-off the 2009-10 college basketball season at the Basketball Hall of Fame Showcase in a nationally televised doubleheader on Tuesday, Nov. 17 in St. Louis. The Scottrade Center, home of the St. Louis Blues, will play host to the annual doubleheader featuring Arkansas versus Louisville and Kansas taking on Memphis. The even, managed by BEST (Blue Entertainment Sports Television), is an annual benefit for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.


The doubleheader will be aired on the ESPN family of networks with the Louisville-Arkansas game will tip at 6:30 p.m. CT on ESPN2 followed by the Kansas-Memphis contest at 9 p.m. CT on ESPN.


In a rematch of the 2008 NCAA Championship game, Kansas will battle Memphis in what promises to be another classic tilt. Kansas, predicted by most analysts to be preseason No. 1 next season, rallied to win the 2008 crown in overtime against the Tigers in one of the most competitive championship games ever played. The Jayhawks, who have more than 6,000 alumns in the St. Louis area, finished last season by winning the Big 12 regular-season title and earning a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament.


Memphis finished the 2009 regular season as the No. 2-ranked team in the USA Today/ ESPN Coaches Poll and received a No. 2 seed in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Led by then-head coach John Calipari, the Tigers became the first NCAA Division A program tow in 30 games in the four consecutive seasons and hold the NCAA record for most wins over a four-year span. But with Calipari now coaching at Kentucky, Josh Pastner, a former assistant of Calipari, will now make his national coaching debut against the Jayhawks.


Louisville swept the Big East regular season and tournament titles in the 2009 and finished the 2008-09 regular season as the No. 1-ranked team in both the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll and the AP Top 25. Rick Pitino’s Cardinals also earned the No. 1 overall seed in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Pitino will match coaching acumen with one of his former players, John Pelphrey, who will be entering his third year at the helm of the Razorbacks’ program. Pelphrey was a member of the famed “Unforgettables” team at Kentucky which lost to Duke in the classis 1992 NCAA Tournament East Regional Final.


“We are trilled to feature four of the absolute best college basketball programs in the 2009 Basketball Hall of Fame Showcase,” said Brooks Downing, Executive Vice President, BEST Collegiate Sports. “This doubleheader has become one of the premier events in all of college basketball, and with this lineup, it will rank as the very best in the sport next season.”


The annual event was launched in Dec. 2006 in Phoenix and last year served as the first basketball event at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. It has become an “all-star game” for the college sports, as numerous Hall of Famers are in attendance each year, such as Rick Barry, Calvin Murphy, George Gervin, Meadowlark Lemon and more.


In 2007, the games were held at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, and the Greater Boston Convention and Visitor’s Bureau estimated the event’s effect on its local economy reached nearly $10 million. As a companion to the games, there are numerous outreach activities throughout the city as well as a youth clinic, all of which feature the legendary Hall of Famers and the participating teams and coaches.


“From the level of talent on the floor to the national media exposure that follows, the Hall of Fame Showcase is a tremendous platform for our teams, our sponsors and the city of St. Louis,” said BEST Managing Director Michael Principe. “This is BEST doing what we do best; creating amazing experiences for our fans, driving enhanced value to our sponsors and creating truly memorable events at that dynamic intersection.”


Public tickets will go on sale Sept. 2, 2009 at the Scottrade Center box office as well as the Ticketmaster locations. Tickets are priced from $25 to $200. For group sales or sponsorship opportunities, interested parties should contact BEST Collegiate at 859-264-8020.


This year’s Showcase has been modified into a round-robin event. Each of the four teams will play three home games against other opponents in November. The exempt events count as a four-on-one per NCAA multi-team event rules. Central Arkansas, Oakland and Tennessee Tech will each play on the Kansas-Memphis side while Appalachian State, East Tennessee State and Morgan State participate on the Arkansas-Louisville slate. A complete schedule will be released later in August.


About BEST

BEST is a unified full-service sports and entertainment company. Current clients include Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes, Reggie Bush, DeAngelo Hall and 2009 NFL Draft first roung picks Aaron Maybin and Percy Harvin.; NBA All-Stars Shawn Marion and Rasheed Wallace, as well as 2009 NBA Lottery picks Ricky Rubio and Earl Clark; ATP #1 ranked doubles team Bob and Mike Bryan, WTA #8 ranked player Victoria Azarenka and WTA #9 ranked player Caroline Wozniacki. Media & Event properties include the US Open Tennis Championshop, the French Open Tennis Championship, the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, numerous US-based ATP tournaments, Rock ‘n Racquets, the Boston Marathon, the Superstars Competitions, Ice Wars, the World Cup of Softball, The Hall of Fame Showcase, the Men’s and Women’s Fifth Third Bank Tennis Championships and experiential grassroots properties Hoop It Up, Kick It and Let It Fly. www.experienceBEST.com


About Blue Equity

Blue Equity. LLC is an independent, private equity firm based in Louisville, Kentucky. It is committed to actively investing growth capital and business expertise in enterprises with solid developmental potential. Blue Equity forms strategic partnerships with existing management teams and leverages its expertise and relationships to stabilize, strengthen and grow lasting value. Investment efforts and managerial expertise are focused on the operation of a global and diversified portfolio of business enterprises, including opportunities in media, publishing, sports and entertainment, financial services, health care and real estate. Blue Equity is dedicated to helping businesses grow by acceleration opportunity and driving innovation to the marketplace. www.blueequity.com